Hoya Flowers Especially For You


| 7/20/2018 1:21:00 PM


Hoya is in the family of the milkweed that is a famous food of the monarch butterfly caterpillars. They belong to the same family Apocynaceae. Hoyas are normally growing wildly in tropical forests of Southeast Asia, Asia, and Papua New Guinea. It got famous only lately from a group of hobbyist collectors from temperate countries. Today they are found mostly in collector gardens of temperate countries like Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia. The Philippines alone has, more or less, 150 hoya species and more waiting to be named. Countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Borneo also have their shares pursued much by collectors and hobbyists.

I will be presenting here some Philippine Hoya species that you will surely love to have in your own gardens. I just warn you, hoya collection is addictive and it is also contagious. Do not blame me later that I did not warn you!

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Flower and Plant Description

Hoyas are normally epiphytes, or plants growing on trunks and branches of trees. There are also a few called lithophytic hoyas that thrive on rocks. Most hoyas are vines and a few species are erect and bushy, and have milky sap just like the milkweed. Moreover, even without the flowers yet, the leaves alone are already aesthetically beautiful. In the wild they get nutrients from decomposing organic debris in their habitat. So, in domestic and garden cultivation they are provided with whatever nutrients and conditions they need to simulate the original habitat they are found in. Successful cold country growers make provisions like rooms with controlled temperatures, humidity, aerators, and artificial lights to grow them. But here in the tropics they are growing in our open gardens with our normal environmental conditions.

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Hoya flowers are lumped in circular bunches of small flowers technically called umbels. The petal-like structures are corolla and the star-shaped parts at the center are corona. Nectar normally oozes out from the bottom of those coronas, and some species become very colorful due to the nectar. Every species also has a distinctive scent, from slightly sweet to extremely fragrant, that probably entices special insect pollinators. However, no studies have yet been done on this aspect. Another special characteristic of hoya is its flower opening later in the afternoon until early evening, concomitant with simultaneous scent emission. Its scent is so powerful that you immediately know a hoya is blooming in your garden as soon as it opens.